K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Well not really, at least, for now. If you are a marketer, I implore you to read this article in entirety. I can assure you with 100% confidence these 4 tips will change your working relationships with sales teams (in essence changing your life, forever):
- As a marketer, you are often times well connected on a stronger emotional level with your clients, peers, friends and family. Therefore people trust you more than those in sales. However, you often times make terrible sales people because you are so afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings or rushing the relationship, you don’t realize how much time has passed since you began conversing. And herein lies the inherent problem which creates an unbelievable amount of friction between sales and marketing steps from the previous statement. My money is tied to the timeline, and you are doing everything you can to prevent things from moving too fast. It’s basically like two people trying to date who shouldn’t be dating in the first place. One is ready for commitment and then other one wants to take things slowly. It NEVER works. If you trust the company you work with you must allow the sales team to remove the emotion from the equation and talk more directly about the problem at hand and how to come up with a solution that makes the client’s problem go away. This is called a professional relationship, not a personal relationship. We are involved to fix an initial problem, and hopefully build strong relationships along the way that allow us to find other problems and fix them too (in turn creating enormous levels of trust and rapport).
- Because people trust you, they tell you their problems – and they tell you quicker and with more accuracy. We as sales people often spend months courting a client. First, building rapport and establishing trust. Making phone calls, booking meetings, working their “linkedin” connections and scouring through potential referral sources. Then we start doing discovery to uncover as many of their pain points as possible. They THEN spend time researching and preparing a well-thought out proposal. And we THEN talk with account managers, marketers, content writers, social media department heads, web developers and designers to try and gain feedback as to what ideas would be good for the pitch. And we THEN start the process of booking the meeting. And after the first meeting, we sometimes find out their is a board involved, so NOW we book the next meeting and start again from the beginning. My point to this is simple, as deeply connected marketers you have the power to relieve sales teams of MONTHS of work and effort when you already have an existing relationship. You save the company money in R&D, you save the sales teams time and actually enable them to MAKE MORE MONEY. This is the #1 driver for anyone in sales, MONEY! We take the risk of making nothing for the upside of making more than we could dream of. And yes, it will be risky to connect us because sales people are sales people but relationships require risk to grow, mature and deepen and isn’t that how you created the relationship in the first place?
- If you have a connection to someone on the inside of another company or you worked at a similar company, you know things (and things you probably shouldn’t know). But that is why as marketers you have a significant opportunity to help your current company grow. You’ve got insider access to know what the external company is currently experiencing. And people don’t watch what they say around marketing/production teams, they watch what they say around sales/consultants. Why? Because they know if they have a problem, it is probably going to cost money to fix it. And on that note, they are 100% correct. And on a second note, there is NOTHING wrong with the fact the problems cost money, and sales people exist to make money off fixing those problems. So here are a few questions you are able to answer instead of sending the sales teams blindly down the road of courtship (and this matters because you will be executing on work you actually enjoy and are experts at because sales sold what you told them to sell):1) Is this external company operationally sound? Are they ready for an external partner because they are at capacity?
2) Have they been in the industry for 5 or more years? Have they started to figure out hiring 10 people for the price of 1 is better than 1 for the price of 10?
3) Are they the type of people who talk about the future? Are they innovative? (if your company is a digital agency like mine, this is a very important question).
4) Have you experienced how vendor relationships have started, progressed and ended? What can you tell the sales team from your experience?You have the immediate power to change the direction of the sales team, reduce the time they spend selling specific products they don’t really apply and start selling products that truly fix your clients problems. In turn creating trust between you and the sales team. How is the sales team supposed to create trust with marketing if marketing isn’t keeping sales up to date on emerging trends? Or what their capabilities are? Did you want us to read your minds? Because we are not THAT manipulative. We are actually the only ones who truly have the POWER to make sure you’re work is relevant, comes with an accurate timeline, and is interesting enough to keep you inspired each and every day. To hate us, is to hate yourself. To embrace us, is to embrace yourself. I recommend starting to embrace sales teams everywhere you go.
- Lastly, it’s we who do the dirty work, the scary work, the vulnerable work. Remember the number of fear in the world: public speaking. Just saying the word probably stirs up some emotion. Now add confrontation in front of it. Didn’t get any better, did it? Now we live in the connection economy and the economy of permission marketing (thanks Seth Godin) so you would think sales should all be rainbows and butterflies because we are calling people that want to hear from us. Yes, we are getting to that point. But when will it be fully realized? When is the day each lead we receive signs up for everything we’ve been told to sell them? The answer is, NEVER! It’s not going to happen! Data has it’s limits. Interactions have their limits because human beings are never the same. We are all in essence living in our own created world where today we need one thing and tomorrow something completely different.My hope is that you’ve continued to read this article, and honestly maybe even read it again. Shoot, what if you decided to post it up in your office or share it with someone you know needs to hear it? All of the above are great, but even if you just learned ONE THING about sales teams and how to build rapport, trust and work together, that is good enough. Just make sure you implement these ideas so we know we’re on the same page or getting close. In the meantime, we will continue to try and read yours minds to ensure what we sell makes everyone’s lives a little better (because we know you think we have that super power). In fact, if you would speak to us, you would find out we don’t and your lives and work environments will begin to dramatically better the day our conversations begin.See you at the water cooler (maybe under the mistletoe?) K.I.S.S… okay, maybe we’re still not there yet. That’s okay. Remember, we’re not all manipulative like you think we are. We can wait :)
There is one word that makes a difference in succeeding in both life and business, and that is: allowance. Encapsulated within this word is all the power and determination we need to move forward. If you take some time and examine the word, you will find multiple definitions at its core. Here are a few mentioned from thefreedictionary.com.
1. to allow
2. admission; concession
3. an amount that is allowed or granted
5. to take mitigating circumstances into account in consideration
We have all experienced one of these topics being played out in our lives. Why? Because the word allowance sits at the core of our development as a human being as well as the future strategy and growth of our businesses. Each day when we wake up we get the privilege to choose what we are going to allow and grant, give admission to or concession to, and what circumstances we are willing to take into account as part of our daily agendas. As you can see, strong application of this principle allows you to manage success and influence at a whole new level. The bondage and freedom that stems from allowance is the result of the wide-spread application in every area of our lives. Failing at allowance is different than failing in math. If you fail in math, no big deal, you just go find a job that is way more interesting anyway. If you fail in what you allow, you won’t get a job in math or anything else. Most likely you will stay exactly as you are, where you are and with no satisfaction of real positive change (plus, you annoy anyone who is attempting to improve their lives, even if that means trying to eat one extra piece of fruit every day).
Let’s say you allow agitation at home or frustration during your work day. Well fortunately or unfortunately, you have just allowed that to happen. Even in the event the first thing you had to do that morning was call an 800-number than put you through the all-too-familiar, mind-numbing, energy-sucking automated prompt system merry-go-round. I get it. Even though it is borderline impossible not to slam the phone on the ground, we are still in control of what we allow.
When we nail this concept of allowance we will realize how particularly powerful it is when applied to the area known to many as “blessing, favor, good luck, or good fortune.”
Couple things to consider here: 1) How can this concept help me win influence with those around me? 2) How can I increase my income, job position, accumulate wealth and faith, etc.?
Well it’s beyond simple. You know you better than I know you so this is where you must commit to true self-examination. You must confront and become aware of what you are good at and what you fear more than anything else and then write these down. These dictate the types of decisions we make, so I am suggesting that you spend a good amount of time becoming aware of who you are, what you can do and what you cannot. Once you do this, you can begin the new path of allowance.
Here are a few examples of how I’ve applied the power of allowance in my business, career and personal life:
In my first business: Six years ago I started a real estate company. Not more than 12 months later, I realized how little I knew about the industry along with how much money I began losing overnight, quite literally. My whole life was an agitation, and a big one at that. Family relationships were suffering, banks accounts were dwindling, local authorities were knocking, and my health was deteriorating. In all reality, I had every reason to wake up and allow agitation, frustration, depression, anxiety, among other things (feel free to insert pretty much any word here) but after a couple months of drudgery, I started to change. In this area, here is what I allowed: I allowed people to come back in my life and help me. I allowed myself to admit to others what I was failing at. And I allowed myself to feel the honest hurt, fear and pain that was in front of me. The main concept I learned here was to allow myself to be real and transparent and that would open doors to overcoming any hurdle or roadblock.
In my career: I knew I wanted to be influential, successful and intelligent within education. So instead of jumping into an industry I didn’t know much about, I asked God to help direct me and connect me this time. This route allowed a natural sequence of events that lined up with my heart’s desire. When I let go of the will power to succeed, I was able to loosen my grip on life and become flexible to different avenues to reach my end desired state. Now each day I grow to be more thankful and grateful for every person I encounter.
In my personal life: I just mentioned I learned to be real and transparent in the first example so here you go. What most don’t know about me is that my whole life I have struggled with anxiety and depression. When I captured this concept six years ago at the age of 20, I finally began to see a potential fix. My top four most fearful of fears were socializing with other people, trusting them with personal resources, becoming known in any community I took part in and working with others to achieve some greater goal. I know, pretty much opening up my eyes in the morning was enough to start struggling through the day.
By using the concept of allowance in my personal life I’ve been able to: start a second company in technology called Folioboy, win multiple national awards including 2012 Student Entrepreneur of the Year and Winner w/ Highest Recognition in the 2012 Venture Creation Challenge, spend three-days at a Summer Seminar of Seth Godin’s – a nationally renowned marketing guru and ex-Yahoo! Executive in New York City, successfully restructure my real estate company into a profit-producing machine, speak to Ivy-League school Columbia University in New York, brought on a co-founder for new business venture opportunities, get accepted into the 2013 Inaugural _________ (TBA) and more importantly than anything else, rebuild the best of the best of family relationships while also being mentored by some of the wealthiest men and women across the country, including a local KC billionaire.
Yes, allowance works. It starts with silent words like, “Even though I’m scared, I’ll stand strong and let you get to know me,” and “I see someone over there that would be great to get to know, they are interested in what I’m interested in, already successful and willing to help, so I’m going to walk over to them and start the conversation.”
It is the back and forth of allowing and disallowing, admission and concession, and appropriately applied tolerance that creates a synergy out of both people’s energy and commitment which then provides the safety/confidence to overcome and move forward with your goals, dreams and ambitions. And which is also the beginning to what others call, “blessing, favor, good luck and good fortune.”
Allow yourself to enter the connection economy and my wish is that blessing will follow you wherever you go.
First, let’s start with a definition. The basic understanding of influence is to have the capacity to change the character, development or behavior of someone or something.
So influence can really be boiled down into two-plys (or categories): both the internal and the external.
The internal influence we create establishes the trust, transparency, respect and love within our inner circle of loyalists, advocates and supporters. With that comes support to build out an external influence to show others what it is like to live and be a part of who you/we are (person, company, cause). Meaningful growth should always start this way.
Now our internal and external groups are grown and nurtured by different motivating factors. So each time you reach out to grow your external environment there is a tug-of-war going on with your internal supporters. Yes, they support you, but if you try to leave them they will fight hard to keep you around. Why? Because more often than not (but not always) they appreciate you being around because you do most of the influencing for them. You may have strong supporters on your team, but they may be taking from your passion, your energy and your influence in order to hide their inactivity and unbelief. Trust me, just like sitting on a couch watching a sports game, it is much easier to bask in someone else’s glory then to muster up enough boldness to do it yourself.
So how should you go about solving this?
Well, the best way I’ve found to overcome this “tug-of-war between the influences” is to just let go of the rope. Then grab another rope in front of you that connects your external influence with your calling. This tug is worth the fight and you will probably realize you should have never been holding the first rope to begin with.
Then as you navigate through life, discerning others intentions and protecting yourself from those who keep you compliant, selfish and weak, you will find new strength. The strong, the brave and the courageous live the most influential lives of all and now you can associate with them.
They are on a misson that allows wanderers to become followers, followers to become enthusiasts and a good majority of the competition’s consumer base to become over-whelmed with jealousy until they begin to crave a different, more prosperous internal environment.
Management of the influences is the turn-key to a boisterous and rambunctious business life that draws people in and then sends people out. Turn-key, turn-key, turn-key. And then on and on we grow…
There are three parts to a roller coaster that we readily embrace: excitement, uncertainty and fear. It’s incredible that we can freely enjoy all those emotions in one environment.
But what about life, school, church, your business, your future? Are you able to embrace those emotions there too?
Success in life is partially based on our ability to ride life like a roller coaster. Welcoming the twists and the turns and finding joy and excitement through the trials that come along the way.
The right seatbelt helps as well.
Those who encourage, understand, believe, support, love, and promote what you do and how you do it should be considered family and part of your inner circle.
Those who judge, set standards and enable fear should not be. Creating art and value requires high levels of vulnerability and dedication to begin with.
If you are wanting to become a starter, you may or may not have any choice but to disassociate yourself from the critics and bind yourself together with the dreamers and believers.
Isn’t it strange that life seemingly presents more than one good opportunity at any given time?
And having to choose between them gets even more difficult as you move along your educational journey?
I’ve experienced this over and over again in my life. The best way to deal with them I’ve found: FILTERS.
First, Your Why: What’s your end goal, desire and purpose in life? How does each opportunity contribute or take away from that desired state?
Second, Your Filter(s): A filter is a lens that can be changed intermittently. Filters and lenses are important because they help you see past many obstacles and hurdles, inform you of upcoming distractions, and keep you aware of both successful opportunities and hazardous threats.
Examples of filters: Health filter, career filter, spiritual filter, relationship filter, education filter. How is this education helping me and what can I do better to reach my end desired state quicker? Stop reading textbooks and find some real books? Probably.
To apply a filter, attempt to pull back emotionally from any situation you are in and look at it from above (satellite view I call it). When looking down you can often see things that you can’t see while on the ground. It will allow a “third party” to get involved that can analyze the situation practically and give you unbiased feedback. Sure mentors can help, but they can’t always be their every time you need them.
Ever watch a football game from peanut heaven?:
“Oh brother, why didn’t they run a different play?” Unfortunately they couldn’t see what you could see but how you wish they could!
When you come to crossroads in life, instead of stepping out in faith, why not take a step up in faith first? Look down, find your next move, then step forward in faith and to your future.
You can only love or hate tidal waves. Once perspective leads towards riding the wave and life, the other perspective leads to being crushed by it and death. Riding the wave takes courage, effort, energy, passion and solitude. Being crushed by the wave takes much less effort as you must quit, give up and forfeit your position and power.
As an entrepreneur, the way you perceive tidal waves is often linked to how well your business does and how far your life will go. Trust me, tidal waves are coming. It’s up to you if you’re going to dive under again or rise up and ride the wave (also known as, “your calling”) back to shore. Sure you can ride the wave and still end up being crushed, but how much greater to be crushed in action then crushed in passivity.
There is hope and excitement that sticks as well as hope and excitement that does not.
What’s the difference? Sticky hope can be birthed through emotional labor while lame hope can never truly be birthed at all. It comes and goes and comes and goes until you get tired enough to loosen your grip.
Vision, desire, and passion are often the largest contributors of hope that sticks. If you’re building a business, writing a book, or chasing a dream, immerse yourself in VDP.
Here’s a great opportunity to learn more about hope in business and life this Thursday.
There is a story about a man named Peter that chose to rock the boat.
You can find that full story here.
As for this blog post we are going to learn about how to rock the boat in all aspects of life. It’s only when we choose to stand up for something we believe in that we are inevitably going to bring forth some shiftings and changes, both positive and negative.
With these shiftings people often feel the sudden need to hold on, attempt to get us to sit back down, protect themselves from incoming water (which depending on the scenario absolutely has the potential to sink everything), as well as convince us it’s not worth the unforeseen activities and consequences that could come down the road.
However one thing remains: In order to create both real and perceived value that lasts, we must take action at a magnitude unreasonable to most. Unreasonable actions tend to lead to wide-spread reasonable beliefs.
Rock a boat, rock yourself, rock the people, rock the water, rock the land. In all reality, once you rock one thing, you are going to rock what’s next to it. The best way to change the world is to have great enough faith to start rocking and then step out of the boat.
Fear of uncertainty. Fear of failure. Fear of what people will think of you. Fear of rocking the boat.
The same fear that keeps you afraid of both success and failure.
Immovable, uncertain, paralyzed, incomplete. The all too familiar, “I know I should go do that, but [insert best excuse here].”
In all compassion and sympathy, I understand the complexities of fear, but I am more certain that triumph will always trump oppression.